Where are the GOOD Harmony cut-out tutorials? Do any exist? I haven't found any...

Showing us how you move an arm or a single leg doesn’t help. Having a guy with a heavy Turkish accent say “I do this and I do this and I do this” without explaining what he’s doing…DOES NOT HELP. Kyu Bum Lee has a some okay tutorials but he, like the Toonboom folks, skips over what he’s doing and leaves us guessing. There’s no FULL tutorials showing how to animate anything outside of that Karate rabbit stuff that doesn’t involve pegs. We need to see someone animate a large scene, where a character’s whole body moves…and we need to see the issues that come up again and again and especially a STUDIO type rig. I swear I am enraged at the colossal lack of advanced training here. If there’s a reason people won’t switch to Harmony ( outside of all the Harmony jobs going to Canada) this is it!

so does anyone know of a BETTER cut-out tutorial?

Pegs are integral to animating cut-out style in Harmony.

The series of tutorials produced when Harmony 14 was released are really more like introductions. There are better tutorials but not exactly advanced training.

There is something to gain going through the Learning section here: https://learn.toonboom.com/journeys/harmony-kick-start

Other sources to Google for:

  1. Frank Summers
  2. Tracy Strong (Stylus Rumble) …conveys a perspective from the working pro
  3. Jessie J. Jones
  4. Pluralsight, formerly Digital Tutors (dated Harmony 12 but relevant enough)
  5. Jon Taylor
  6. It will take scavenging around but Adam Phillips “chluaid” who is not a cut-out but a frame-by-frame animator and knows a lot about special effects has produced some tutorials and has also covered topics in detail during his TWITCH broadcasts but those will require sifting through hours of archived material to find the gems. If you catch a live stream he will answer questions and has thoroughly demonstrated a process many times.
  7. There are a few Harmony animators streaming on TWITCH (sorry I cannot think of anyone except Alex Clark “itsAlexClark” as I have stopped watching TWITCH streams). There is something to gain watching people work. Many are willing to answer questions but it is mostly learn through observation. I have been able to get something out of tutorials in foreign languages but everyone’s success will be subjective.
  8. There are also a lot of animators using Flash/Animate CC with material applicable to animation in general. Many of these people do frame-by-frame. Chris Georgenes “keyframer” is very smooth and good at describing what he does.
  9. Another Flash/Animate CC artist is Mike Milo “Milowerx” …also a frame-by-frame artist who is very fast and smooth.
    The last two stream on TWITCH in Adobe’s channel as well as on their own.
  10. There is also Harry Partridge “HuHa” using Flash with a series of Youtube tutorials.

All 2D animation software is underrepresented in the world of advanced tutorials.

There is a lot of attention focused on 3d modeling and animation (i.e. Maya, and so on).

Yeah, I second all of what o0Ampy0o said. You have to redouble your efforts and search on Youtube and also be willing to pay for some of the tutorials as well.

I have gathered all that I could on youtube on Toon Boom Harmony and not just that but also earlier versions of Animate and Animate Pro. I have them all collected and sorted and it comes in at just under 100 GB of videos (94 GB to be specific). I add to it each and every week. I just discovered Maginpanic and his fx work using Toon Boom Harmony this past month. He has started to do tutorials and I love his approach and enthusiasm.

Bloop Animation has a tutorial course that you can buy.

Stephen Sloan has courses at Pluralsight. Just pay for one month and go through the courses. He also has courses on youtube that won’t cost you anything.

Dermot O’Connor has courses on Toon Boom at Lynda.com.

Tracy (Stylus Rumble) has over 33 videos posted on youtube and just posted a new video yesterday on particles. How she does not have way more than 145 subscribers is beyond me. She should have thousands of subscribers.

Frank Summers has videos on Toon Boom Harmony and recently did a more in depth video that you can rent or buy on youtube. The free Planting Feet video was some 9 minutes long and the in depth Planting Feet video was 32 minutes. I bought the extended video and learned a lot.

It does make me wonder though how many people rented or bought his video. It just seems like everybody wants everything for free. I will gladly pay for training if I can afford it and I am very thankful for working professionals that take the time to do free tutorials and then follow that up by answering questions.

But in terms of users just starting out you have to be patient and do your due diligence. I see so many people on this forum ask questions to the same issues over and over. The Learn portal that Toon Boom provides is great, but it seems like very few new users are willing to go through the training.

What parts do you have confusion with? Once you understand pegs, if you’ve done puppet based animation in flash you should be able to do the same thing in harmony with the addition of being able to use auto/patches and posecopier for ease of use. Or is it more a problem of you’re starting out in animation and wanting to animate cutout but not finding enough resources on how to do the above?

I know how to use pegs. I know how to swap out drawings. I KNOW how to navigate through a complex rig, however, on a VERY complex rig, when things are happening and I don’t know why…it’s just I have never seen someone animate a studio-complex rig, show their process, and address the weird stuff that comes up. There’s no reason I should be having the problems I’m having because when i rig my own character it works fine but these studio rigs…they’re monsters and i can’t even find keyframes that are supposed to be where the mistakes are happening…etc… that’s why I’m asking. Been using Harmony for five years and before that, Animate for another five. It took this long to get brief, crappy tutorials that just show a single arm or leg moving and when someone like Kyu animates he doesn’t explain things, instead telling you to go back to his “earlier” videos which I have and there are still vague/no ANSWERS.

I have viewed almost all the tutorials you speak of and paid for DT training which also falls into the “too short. not enough details” category.

I’d like to see advanced material too but I don’t think it is up to the software manufacturer to provide it for free and out in the open. IOW there is this thing called getting certified for the software:
https://www.toonboom.com/education/certification
Is it just establishing what you already know or bringing you up to a level and then testing for a certificate like a diploma? The certification is not widely available so it would probably involve travel and lodging expenses for most of us.

But most of the advanced material offered for any software comes form expert users or similar certification course graduates. For some reason most people who know about Harmony do not make themselves known and available to other users online. This is not to overlook those who do share generously but as we see here so far there are not many of them.

Along this line where do all the pro animators hang out online? I have not found them. It is easy to find 3D animators and wannabes but the 2d animators seem to be computer-free when out of the work context. This forum is typically a ghost town. You see newbies with one or two questions but it is rare that anyone returns to acknowledge a response so you never know if they resolved their problem. There are zero ongoing dialogues with the exception of a bug complaint. No one comes to talk animation.

I described TWITCH in my earlier post. TWITCH has the most activity going on even if it is only 3-5 people randomly streaming with Harmony on a regular basis. They are at least actively creating episodes, personal and professional. I was surprised to see several people using Harmony and they knew what they were doing. From what I have gathered most people learned what they know on their own.

It seems to be the nature of the beast. Digital 2D animation is not as popular as doing tricks with Photoshop or making assets for 3D games.

You won’t find Toonboom provide any training other than standard major studio training; ie, complex rigs, etc. Because, their money only come from major studios. If Toonboom really cared about independent animators using their software in other than studio standards; then, they would provide training. Otherwise, they only provide training about their software the way studios need people to use the software.

You won’t find any training on someone needing to do something other than how a major studio uses their software. If a studio needed the video training; you can bet it would be provided. Harmony is only used for complex rig type animations; because studios only want that kind of training; The reason is; time efficiency. The studios can’t pay an animator a decent wage if they animate frame by frame. What studios need are people that can build a rig and pseudo animate a rig to meet their time deadlines. They don’t care about actual animators or real animations. Studios need someone that can simulate a puppet type animation. Therefore, Toonboom will only provide training for how to train someone to simulate a puppet to meet studio demands. Harmony is basically the gateway to how to animate a puppet. Not how to animate.

Have you ever worked in one of these animation studios that use harmony?

Many of said studios where you think use “advanced rigs” are actually not advanced whatsoever and are barely a step up above flash. I can think of several major hit animations on TV where these rigs are just that, and lots of it is redraws/frame by frame movement on top of timing done by hand (otherwise rigs feel rigid/flash like if they are all tweened with no thought put into timing, as well as complex rig make animating extremely slow as toonboom begins to really chug with several complex rigs on stage).

Even the rigs that are “advanced” have plenty of redraws for things where such node building can’t do.

Toon Boom has been providing training, but you might need to contact them. On different occasions there were courses and prices announced on the website, but that seems to change all the time. Currently, I think there’s only a form to ask for information. When a studio buys Harmony, switching from another software it’s normal for Toon Boom to provide training, but that’s not exactly free, naturally.


Luis Canau

Toon Boom had certification programmes scheduled around 2012. The certification could be made on their HQs or on certification centres. There where different levels of certification and each would imply a certain experience. For the basic level, as expected, you’d only need basic knowledge of animation. You would participate on a structured training programme and then you would be tested to earn the certification. I did a training/certification back then and it was quite helpful for me to start working in cut-out animation projects.

Some people learn more easily by watching tons of tutorials, others learn a lot by themselves. Having training with professionals is a very effective way of learning because you have a structured programme and you can ask questions to solve all of your doubts.

Working alone or on a small team in which you have to do everything by yourself means having to learn quite a lot and, obviously, that also means much more work than specializing in one area. In studios, you have different people to design, rig, and animate. You can have someone just making the scene setup, the animator just opens the shot with everything ready to animate. A good rig, even very complex, would allow the animator to basically just animate not needing to understand the complexities ‘under the hood’. If there’s an issue with the rig it won’t be for the animator to solve.


Luis Canau

Stylus Rumble / Tracy here :slight_smile:

There are definitely a lack of pro-level tutorials out there. That’s why I was pressured into making my channel lol. Even in studios, and I’ve worked in some of the biggest Canadian studios that use the high-end rigs, there isn’t a lot of formal instruction. There just isn’t time.

Most animators are thrown into the pit- I mean studio - and expected to hold their own. They’ll get corrected on things as they come up, and I’ve seen some incredible animation supervisors who happen to be good at teaching, but it’s all learn as you go.
Often the technical problems that come up are just sent to one of us who happen to know the technical side of the program a bit better. So many of the studio animators have no idea how the rigs work.
Ever After High has some of the most complex rigs I’ve ever seen, and there were a hand full of senior animators that got the really crazy stuff, and anything with a tonne of drawing was just called “FX” and sent to us.

I learned the technical stuff through trial and error working in small studios, reading the help menu, and picking up tidbits from my peers along the way. I did do the in-studio training with a guy from Toonboom once, and he asked if I was looking for a job after wards lol. It wasn’t as in depth as one would want for getting to senior-level animation.|

There’s also an issue where you have technical guys, OR animators who really do great acting. There aren’t a lot of people who do both, and freelance pays way better than making free tutorials!

My long-term goal is to have everything an animator needs to kill it in a studio. That way, instead of training one person at a time I can just sent them to my youtube channel lol. Planning/ recording/ editing all comes after payed work though… so it’ll be a while.

and Scungyho I only started 4 months ago, so it’s growing slowly :). Most of the giant channels have been going for years.

Have you guys checked out the learning portal? learn.toonboom.com

There are some more advanced rigging tutorials in the rigging 2 section:
http://learn.toonboom.com/courses/rigging-2

I always recommend beginners start out with the harmony learning stuff. I do find a lot of them to be really slow paced- which is perfect for someone who is new. I think it has everything someone needs to get to a competent level. “advanced” is a relative term.

The big gap is for intermediate-level animators. They know the general layout, can animate some simple stuff, but It can be a rough transition from there to a studio. They get a 360 rig with articulate shoulders, 14 textures running through auto-patch cutters, drawing sub eyes with pre-existing deformers on a fraction of them and a few colour-overrides sprinkled in for funzies. There’s nothing out there to tell them how that works- and certainly nothing on how those are made.
Then they have to take that monstrosity- which was hopefully made by someone competent and have him throw on a back pack, put a sword in his teeth, climb onto the shoulders of another character and into a tree.
Ain’t nothing for that for sure!

hey vrexus, I don’t work for a studio, as most of my work is independent or client specific based. My use of the “complex rig” idiom was merely a jab at studios that need people to work with a rig instead of frame by frame hand drawn animation.

Too many shows (whether tv or otherwise) seem to be puppeted rather than an artist actually hand drawing the animation. I cannot watch shows like Archer or Kratts or any other show that uses puppet type animation. It is so computerized and distances the viewer from the actual human that could be hand drawing the animation. It’s not the fault of the artist, I know, it is the studio. Because, they have deadlines and a bottom line, and the artist has to compromise their craft because a middle manager somewhere is dictating what “art” is. It’s a personal preference for hand drawn vs. puppeteering. So, no need to debate that merits of one vs. the other.

The majority of cartoon animations being produced currently make me feel uncomfortable if not repulsed to some degree. If it isn’t in the movement it is the overall production encompassing story, direction, sound, vocal talent, etc. However, I think Archer is well written and its visual presentation is more like artistic style than falling back on cheats and bad drawing. Archer appears to involve rotoscoping. I believe Archer is funny. It could be produced as a live action series but I believe the visual approach is part of the joke.

I have observed people like Mike Milo (an Emmy winning animator) work on TWITCH. He uses Animate CC/Flash. But 99% of it is hand drawn frame by frame. There are no deformers but Animate offers a degree of repositioning and bending of line unavailable with traditional pen and paper. He is quick and efficient. Granted he is working within the confines of contemporary television. He cannot take the time to produce Disney-Classic-fluent-animation. Having seen some very complicated rigs utilizing deformers I think it would have to be easier to draw the poses frame by frame, provided you have hired people who can draw. I cannot imagine anyone being able to work a complicated rig as fast as people can draw the same poses frame by frame.

Thanks for checking out my stuff! I do have more planned. It’s just a matter of finding the time to produce them.

Yeah, most people just want “free!”. That video got a lot of thumbs down simply because it is behind a (rather low if I must say) pay wall. And I can understand that to a degree. Some people just want the info. For example, I got a comment from someone the other day on my Shift and Trace video saying it was “too long!”, but he misses all the demos I did of Shift and Trace in action. So it’s hard appeasing everyone. I believe I’ve seen the OP in my live streams that I do on Monday nights. I’m always open to answering questions.

Generally speaking, I introduce small bits of info in my tutorials just to get the concept across. So as the OP suggests, its just an arm or a leg. However those concepts can be extrapolated to other areas of a build.

I’ve ran into some “studio builds” and I’m sorta baffled by them at first blush. Some of this is because I don’t agree with how a particular character is rigged. I always shoot for the most simplest way to get the idea across without creating a spiderweb in your Network. Some of it is simply because of creating familiarity with a rig. The more you work work with any particular build, the more familiar you become with its particular quirks which helps solve any oddities as they arise.

I have built studio rigs. The first version is really light, all the bare essentials and nothing too weird. Then the animation supervisor comes in and tells you all his “Great” ideas that he loves to do – usually an inefficient Frankenstein mess. So I’ll build a more-complex than it needs to be, but more efficent version of that. He will then explain to me that I did it wrong and I have to make an overly complected, inefficient laggy version that makes him very happy- and everyone else (especially the new kids and TD’s ) really frustrated.
I’ve rigged hundreds of characters in nearly a decade- but if the studio decides the animation supervisior- (who is probably a spectacular animator) gets the final say, there’s not much someone can do.

It’s impossible to please everyone with anything- making rigs, making tutorials. My tutorial method is to cram information down people’s throats in the most efficient way I can think of.
One of the reasons I started making them, is I want more riggers to exist so nobody asks me lol. I need a lot of incentive to work as a studio rigger now - not worth the aggravation.